Monday, June 28, 2010

West McDonnell Ranges

We left Alice Springs on Sunday 20th and headed off to the West MC D ranges. We had been in contact with our friends John and Vera and they were on their way to Simpson’s gap when we communicated using our CB radio. We passed them as we were going in, but caught up with them at Standley Chasm and had a chat..

We decided to continue on to the very end of the ranges to a place called Redbank Gorge. Just out of Glen Helen, a message came over the radio – “Anyone near Glen Helen Resort?” We responded that we were about 5k’s away, and they asked us to go in and report an accident that had happened further on. 2 Italian tourists had tipped over their car, and were injured (not badly). We duly went in and reported the accident – the person we spoke to on the radio had actually arrived by then, so at least the poor people would have got help. It was all a bit exciting being able to help in a crisis!!

We arrived at Redbank Gorge and have got a beautiful camp spot, right at the top of a ridge. We get the morning sun, and have enjoyed our breakfasts in the sun each day.

On Monday we headed out to Hermannsburg, an early mission station. We had to go along over 40ks of gravel road, but it was very interesting when we got there. This was the place that Albert Namijira grew up and we saw some of his paintings in the mission. We also saw the house where he grew up – well we think it’s his house – there was a sign pointing down a road, but then the actual house wasn’t clearly signposted, so we guess we were looking at the right house!

We decided to head off for Palm Valley from there. It was our first real 4WDriving. As we were driving along there was a car stuck in sand in the middle of the road. It was a lady travelling on her own, and Randall offered his assistance. He pulled out our MaxTrax and got the lady out of trouble. She drove off without even a wave of her hand for thanks. I will be eternally grateful that Randall bought those Max Trax, as I can see how easily you can get out of a bogged situation.

Our trip into Palm Valley took longer than expected so we didn’t get right to the end. We were running out of time to get back to our campsite, so we stopped at Cycad Gorge, which was beautiful, then had to turn around and head home. We drove through sand and water and over rocks, so we really had the true 4WD experience. We were glad to be able to use the car for its purpose – we had a great day!

Our next day trip out was to go into the gorges we passed as we came to Redbank Gorge. We drove into Orminston Gorge, Serpentine Gorge, we saw the Ochre Pits the aborigines used to get ochre – that was amazing! The colours were like the rainbow.

We also drove into Ellery Creek Big Hole – a young fellow went in for a swim while we were there. Each gorge has warnings about the extreme cold of the water, and there are life rings ready to be used as well!! It was a nice day, but not hot enough for a swim.

Our last stop was at Glen Helen, not far from our camp. All the gorges are so pretty, and have a quietness about them which is really peaceful.


  1. Hi Deb and Randall,
    Thanks for the last blog, I was beginning to wonder what had happened to you over the last 10 days! I am very much enjoying your journey as I follow your blog. Love the photos, the sky is so big and the rocks, quite majestic. It's pretty cold here but I'm sure your nights are very cold as well. Best wishes from Mandy

  2. Hi Deb and Randall,
    This is all bringing back fantastic sights and memories from when we covered all these areas in 1976, you can imagine what the tracks were like then, especially into Palm Valley and Kings Canyon when there was absolutely nothing there.
    We have been practicing with the ozpig and had a couple of good meals come out so far.
    Keep enjoying yourselves.
    Trevor and Judy